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A memorable experience

I had been daydreaming about large scarification pieces for quite a while. I find heavily scarred bodies to be very beautiful. I also find complete ownership over one's body to be a beautiful thing. I was bored with the bareness of my skin. I am a tactile person, so the idea of adding new texture to my skin is appealing. I knew that my first scarification would be somehow animal related, considering my affection for the animal kingdom. I wanted to devote a portion of my skin to the creatures that bring happiness to me. I drew up a picture of a dog. This dog was based on an animal I knew and became very close to. I was determined to get his image into my skin in one form or another.

I did some research and discovered that John Joyce owned a shop only a half hour away from where I live. I made a phone call to Scarab Body Arts and went into the shop the next day to drop off my drawing. John (the piercer/scarification artist) made some minor changes to the drawing and an appointment was made for the following week. I was so excited the whole four days preceding my appointment that I couldn't think (or talk) about anything else. I was finally starting to make the changes to my body that I had thought about for so long. I was also getting cut by a talented (and reputable) practitioner.

Today I went into the shop to meet John again for my appointment. Scarab is an exceptionally clean and comfortable place to be. John is VERY friendly and knowledgeable about what he is doing, so I wasn't at all apprehensive about going under his scalpel. He rubbed some antibacterial gel on my side, followed by the application of the stencil. He put on his gloves and mask. My shirt was rolled up exposing my stomach, the cold air made my nipples looked like gum drops, this didn't effect the cutting, but it made me laugh. I laid down and the cutting began after he made sure I was ready. There was pain, but it was not at all intolerable. It was more like an extreme tickling under my skin. I found myself getting nervous that I would suddenly twitch and make him accidentally stab my guts, causing a nervous and bloody scene. This of course didn't happen because his hand was steady and prepared if I moved unexpectedly. After the initial outline, John rubbed the area with the oddly named Blue Gel, which numbed the spot entirely and made the bleeding subside. When he began the second round, as I was numb from the gel, I felt nothing but a sense that my side was made of butter being pressed on. That was definitely an interesting sensation. We repeated this process a few more times: cut, antibacterial lotion, paper towel, blue gel. I have honestly never been so amused sitting in a chair for four hours.

The experience was enjoyable because I could FEEL it happening. I could feel the image as it was being slowly cut away.

The cutting was done and it looked exactly like the drawing, I was pleased. It all went smoothly.

When I left the shop, I went directly to the store to get my aftercare supplies. It is always fun buying a giant container of Vaseline and three roles of medical tape. I am sure I gave the cashier some strange ideas. As I walked home I felt the bandage getting warm, I thought that my movement may have caused it to bleed more. I soaked the paper through, but it stopped after I got home.

John told me that it would hurt when I first took a shower. The feelings that radiated through my side as the water first hit the cutting were otherworldly. I was screaming the entire time. I bent over thinking it would make the cuts close in on the themselves and thus deaden the pain, that didn't happen. No matter the angle I held my body, it was the same. I thought that maybe the screaming was worsening my bodies reaction, so instead I tried singing something happy, "I've got a lov-e-ly bunch of coconuts...". It only lasted for probably five or ten minutes, my agony was brief. My sister was thoroughly amused by my squealing.

After the shower, I poured peroxide over the cuts which produced a layer of hot bubbles. A nice sensation to follow the sting of the washing.

I would absolutely have another piece done by John. It has been only five hours since I left the shop and I have already started my next drawing. He is really good at what he does and very pleasant to be around. I would recommend going to him if you have some work you want done, even if it means traveling to Syracuse. It's worth it.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 23 Jan. 2007
in Scarification

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Artist: John+Joyce
Studio: Scarab+Body+Arts
Location: Syracuse%2C+NY

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